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Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come

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The 2013–2014 Ebola epidemic was the deadliest ever—but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses—from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries. This time, Ebola started with a two-year-old child The 2013–2014 Ebola epidemic was the deadliest ever—but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses—from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries. This time, Ebola started with a two-year-old child who likely had contact with a wild creature and whose entire family quickly fell ill and died. The ensuing global drama activated health professionals in North America, Europe, and Africa in a desperate race against time to contain the viral wildfire. By the end—as the virus mutated into its deadliest form, and spread farther and faster than ever before—30,000 people would be infected, and the dead would be spread across eight countries on three continents. In this taut and suspenseful medical drama, Richard Preston deeply chronicles the outbreak, in which we saw for the first time the specter of Ebola jumping continents, crossing the Atlantic, and infecting people in America. Rich in characters and conflict—physical, emotional, and ethical—Crisis in the Red Zone is an immersion in one of the great public health calamities of our time. Preston writes of doctors and nurses in the field putting their own lives on the line, of government bureaucrats and NGO administrators moving, often fitfully, to try to contain the outbreak, and of pharmaceutical companies racing to develop drugs to combat the virus. He also explores the charged ethical dilemma over who should and did receive the rare doses of an experimental treatment when they became available at the peak of the disaster. Crisis in the Red Zone makes clear that the outbreak of 2013–2014 is a harbinger of further, more severe outbreaks, and of emerging viruses heretofore unimagined—in any country, on any continent. In our ever more interconnected world, with roads and towns cut deep into the jungles of equatorial Africa, viruses both familiar and undiscovered are being unleashed into more densely populated areas than ever before. The more we discover about the virosphere, the more we realize its deadly potential. Crisis in the Red Zone is an exquisitely timely book, a stark warning of viral outbreaks to come.


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The 2013–2014 Ebola epidemic was the deadliest ever—but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses—from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries. This time, Ebola started with a two-year-old child The 2013–2014 Ebola epidemic was the deadliest ever—but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses—from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries. This time, Ebola started with a two-year-old child who likely had contact with a wild creature and whose entire family quickly fell ill and died. The ensuing global drama activated health professionals in North America, Europe, and Africa in a desperate race against time to contain the viral wildfire. By the end—as the virus mutated into its deadliest form, and spread farther and faster than ever before—30,000 people would be infected, and the dead would be spread across eight countries on three continents. In this taut and suspenseful medical drama, Richard Preston deeply chronicles the outbreak, in which we saw for the first time the specter of Ebola jumping continents, crossing the Atlantic, and infecting people in America. Rich in characters and conflict—physical, emotional, and ethical—Crisis in the Red Zone is an immersion in one of the great public health calamities of our time. Preston writes of doctors and nurses in the field putting their own lives on the line, of government bureaucrats and NGO administrators moving, often fitfully, to try to contain the outbreak, and of pharmaceutical companies racing to develop drugs to combat the virus. He also explores the charged ethical dilemma over who should and did receive the rare doses of an experimental treatment when they became available at the peak of the disaster. Crisis in the Red Zone makes clear that the outbreak of 2013–2014 is a harbinger of further, more severe outbreaks, and of emerging viruses heretofore unimagined—in any country, on any continent. In our ever more interconnected world, with roads and towns cut deep into the jungles of equatorial Africa, viruses both familiar and undiscovered are being unleashed into more densely populated areas than ever before. The more we discover about the virosphere, the more we realize its deadly potential. Crisis in the Red Zone is an exquisitely timely book, a stark warning of viral outbreaks to come.

30 review for Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    A biomedical, microbiological and terrifying trip to tiny superpredators and some thoughts about how they may evolve and be (mis)used. The suffering of the populations of these countries is as unbelievable and the courage of the help workers who had to fight against fake news denying the existence of ebola, people stealing infected family members from hospitals and the tradition of rinsing the bodies of the deceased to bathe in the same water. Tragic cases of misleading cultural norms that made A biomedical, microbiological and terrifying trip to tiny superpredators and some thoughts about how they may evolve and be (mis)used. The suffering of the populations of these countries is as unbelievable and the courage of the help workers who had to fight against fake news denying the existence of ebola, people stealing infected family members from hospitals and the tradition of rinsing the bodies of the deceased to bathe in the same water. Tragic cases of misleading cultural norms that made the epidemic longer, larger and more dangerous. The mistrust in western doctors is whereas something based on colonial crimes. This outbreak was just the biggest one in human history until now and the question of what the future will bring is one of the most disturbing aspects the reading of this book implements in the mind of the reader. One know´s those overachievers who to do much too well in a too short period while all others are still procrastinating. Well, Ebola is such a case. In monkeys, it is still not too hardcore to self-destruct by killing the whole population, but as soon as the pandemic spillover scenario takes place, it gets nasty really quick. The cytokine storm, the liquefication of inner organs and the unbelievable amount of produced viruses make it a killer with the same potential as smallpox as a biological agent for warfare. Even without further, natural evolution of the virus, it is already incredibly dangerous. To say that highly developed countries may be immune to problems with outbreaks like that is seld-deceit and denial of reality. Take one of the fast-growing megacities, a neuralgic point like an airport, rail station or city center and think of the average apocalypse movie. There is no argument against that and just because it still didn´t happen doesn´t mean that it won´t happen. Just a normal outbreak could kill hundreds of thousands until it´s under control, but let´s say it is in combination with a natural disaster like a hurricane or a large terrorist attack on infrastructure that is combined with an attack with biological weapons like Lassa fever, Ebola, a super Flu, a pandemic, smallpox, etc. in New York, Mumbai, London, Berlin, Beijing, Paris,... In such a setting millions will die and reverse quarantine won´t help anything. Another option for biological warfare is to simply infect refugees and sent them to the country one wants to harm. Or, more subtle, use highly skilled, brainwashed agents that work in important companies and government agencies, infect themselves all at the same time with an ethnic bioweapon like ebolapox, spread the virus before the first symptoms could give the hint and hide so that nobody is alarmed by their death. A smaller country could even be invaded after such a first strike because the soldiers wouldn't have to fear contagion if they are already vaccinated against the used agent or the ethnic bioweapon is so sophisticated that just humans living in the enemy country get infected. Genetic engineering will be the best solution and the worst problem at the same time. For medicine, vaccines are just the first step. Viruses, bacteria and especially phages have the potential for individualized medicine, self-healing applications, drug transport inside the body and as allies of the human body against other invaders. They are so highly developed that science can learn endless things and probably find cures for many diseases that are still seen as incurable. On the other, darker side terrorists could add resistance to heat and cold, even acid or disinfectants and, the worst thing, the ability to survive outside human bodies long enough, to fly trough air over vast distances to new hosts. To make viruses more potent, contagious and more difficult to detect, especially if the amount needed to provoke an outbreak gets smaller and smaller and completely new viruses are created whose genetic fingerprint is still unknown and undetectable. And there is nature that has already produced too great working killer like the Spanish flu. Nothing is more attractive to dangerous microorganisms than to adapt better and better to the most attractive prey and well, that seems to be the human species. We are an especially great place for experiments because we tend to fly from climate zone to climate zone and that´s a great acclimation exercise and a nice, free world cruise at the same time for those nasty little monsters. It will be an endless chess game between nature and different fractions of human society who try to cure or kill all other people. A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real-life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018%E2... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biologi... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categor... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioprep...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    5+++++ stars – but proceed with caution! While I was kind of goofy with my status messages throughout this book, I would definitely say that was a defense mechanism. This book is very serious and very scary. Touted as a sequel to Preston’s enthralling book, The Hot Zone, this book is equally mesmerizing! I have no problem declaring Preston the master of Non-Fiction bio-hazard books. If you have any interest in how scary nature can be, you must check his work out! Again, this book is 100% fact – an 5+++++ stars – but proceed with caution! While I was kind of goofy with my status messages throughout this book, I would definitely say that was a defense mechanism. This book is very serious and very scary. Touted as a sequel to Preston’s enthralling book, The Hot Zone, this book is equally mesmerizing! I have no problem declaring Preston the master of Non-Fiction bio-hazard books. If you have any interest in how scary nature can be, you must check his work out! Again, this book is 100% fact – and that makes it all the more terrifying. If you want to go through life not worried about your mortality at the hand of communicable disease or you have hypochondriac tendencies, this is not the book for you. If you have issues with actual medical gore – not cheesy Hollywood horror gore – but the real thing, this is not the book for you. But, if you are fascinated in the delicate barrier between the human world and the virus world and how close we have recently come to apocalyptic worldwide viral meltdown, you must check this book out. I highly recommend this book as well as his others – The Demon In The Freezer< (Smallpox Non-Fiction), The Cobra Event (Viral apocalypse fiction), and The Hot Zone (Ebola Non-Fiction) – all of them 5+ stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    Crisis in the Red Zone tells of the horrific 2013-2014 Ebola epidemic that engulfed Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and eventually infected almost 30,000 people. While the virus stretched the financial and medical infrastructure of these three countries, the book focuses geographically on the Makona Triangle, where the virus first grabbed hold and exploded, and on Kenema Government Hospital as it quickly became overwhelmed beyond its limits as the only hospital in Sierra Leone with a function Crisis in the Red Zone tells of the horrific 2013-2014 Ebola epidemic that engulfed Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and eventually infected almost 30,000 people. While the virus stretched the financial and medical infrastructure of these three countries, the book focuses geographically on the Makona Triangle, where the virus first grabbed hold and exploded, and on Kenema Government Hospital as it quickly became overwhelmed beyond its limits as the only hospital in Sierra Leone with a functional infectious disease unit that could handle Ebola. What is so riveting about this book is that the virus's effects on humans and its vicious propagation are more horrifying than any fiction epidemic book I've ever read. During the initial outbreak, the international community was not taking this very seriously, and so very little aid arrived from outside. These three countries are relatively poor and have fragile medical infrastructures, which quickly became swamped by the deluge of sick people. The author takes something happening on a large scale, and brings humanity to it by telling the story through the eyes of the people on the ground: the doctors, nurses, and scientists fighting on the front lines. Their courage is awe-inspiring and their terror is visceral as they battle against this virus that is spreading faster than they can contain and could possibly kill them in the process. The book delves into the epidemiological roots of the virus, its current mutations, and where it can go from here if we are not careful. It also explores the ethical implications around who to treat if there are limited resources available or if the only potential medicine is unproven and untested against humans. I found this book to be captivating and informative. It is as gripping as a thriller, but more real and horrifying because it isn't fiction. Whenever I hear of something bad happening in another part of the world, it's easy to feel a sense of distance, as if that could never touch me. The author was masterful in drawing the reader into the minds and emotions of the medical professionals battling Ebola, and making their fight come alive. Those people are the real heroes, and I'm glad their story is being told.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I came into this book with both curiosity and some slight trepidation that it might not quite mesh with my current active interest in the Coronavirus. Different kinds of sickness, speed, and symptoms. Ebola is much more deadly, while Coronavirus had the potential to spread across the world and kill even more. Even so, I dove in and quickly fell into a story that was almost pure horror. It was worse because everything in it was true. Do you want descriptions that would turn the stomachs of even th I came into this book with both curiosity and some slight trepidation that it might not quite mesh with my current active interest in the Coronavirus. Different kinds of sickness, speed, and symptoms. Ebola is much more deadly, while Coronavirus had the potential to spread across the world and kill even more. Even so, I dove in and quickly fell into a story that was almost pure horror. It was worse because everything in it was true. Do you want descriptions that would turn the stomachs of even the most hardcore horror fan? Look no further. The late 70's started the outbreak but it wasn't until 2014 when a confluence of new strains and the lack of real support for the people attempting to contain it turned Ebola a nightmare scenario completely out of control. The story ... is shocking. Tragic. Tragedy upon tragedy upon tragedy. And this was just a few years ago. Most of the crap could have been prevented with knowledge and actual physical and monetary support, but governments, incompatible ethical concerns, and fear made the entire event into a completely non-hollywood-ending story. There are possible treatments possible, but they are still caught in red-tape. Currently, the only thing that has worked is turning whole populations into cold, mercenary triage mentalities. Let the sick die. Avoid them. Avoid everyone. Cut all social ties. No longer touch other people. This is the kind of thing that worked in Medieval times. For better or worse, I got a better understanding of the possibilities that are open to us. And they aren't pretty. The biggest tragedy is that there ARE options, but red-tape is clamping down on them. The biggest lesson is that we must prepare to self-quarantine. Prepare for large outbreaks. Isolate yourself. Are there obvious crossovers here? Yes. Unfortunately.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Ebola. One of the scariest words in the human language. Because it's one of the scariest viruses one can imagine. There is not too much known about it. The symptoms, of course, because we see the suffering of the infected. But we have no idea where it came from, how long it's been on this planet, how it evolved or anything like that. We do know that there are 6 different types of ebola virus so far but considering how fast viruses can mutate, that doesn't mean too much. The six types are named aft Ebola. One of the scariest words in the human language. Because it's one of the scariest viruses one can imagine. There is not too much known about it. The symptoms, of course, because we see the suffering of the infected. But we have no idea where it came from, how long it's been on this planet, how it evolved or anything like that. We do know that there are 6 different types of ebola virus so far but considering how fast viruses can mutate, that doesn't mean too much. The six types are named after the areas where they first showed up: Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Reston ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, Taï Forest ebolavirus (originally Côte d'Ivoire ebolavirus), Zaire ebolavirus, and Bombali ebolavirus. Four of these six viruses cause EVD (Ebola virus disease), a type of hemorrhagic fever, with a very high case fatality rate. One of them (the Reston virus) has caused EVD in other primates as well. The Zaire ebolavirus is the reference/example species and has the highest mortality rate (up to 90% and an average of 83%). It is also the type that is responsible for the largest number of outbreaks, including the one in 1976, which is the topic of Richard Preston's first book that my buddy-reader, Brad, and I skipped: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4... And it is the type with the most deaths => see the outbreak from 2014 that this book is talking about. And yes, 1976 is when this virus was encountered for the very first time. (This is an electron micrograph of an Ebola virus virion.) According to the World Health Organization, there have been 24 outbreaks involving 2.387 cases with 1.590 deaths between 1976 and 2013. The largest outbreak to date was the epidemic in West Africa from December 2013 to January 2016 (talked about in the above mentioned first book by this author) with 28.646 cases and 11.323 deaths. It was declared no longer an emergency on 29 March 2016. Other outbreaks in Africa began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2017 and 2018. In July 2019, the World Health Organization declared the Congo Ebola outbreak a world health emergency. Nothing much has happened since other than that people keep dying and doctors are frantically trying to keep the death rate as low as possible. So this second book, as stated above, deals with the outbreak in 2013/2014. It thus details of pregnant women giving birth to dead children and subsequently dying from profound haemorrhages. Since many humans' first instinct is to help, especially a pregnant woman, you can imagine how easy infection is - particularly in the beginning, when people don't yet know that the person they are trying to save carries a lethal virus. There is lots of death in here. Horrible death. Painful and disgusting death. We learn about the transmission, we learn about people's superstitions, we learn about valiant doctors from around the world and we learn about governments who just can't be bothered to at least throw SOME money at the problem (which could help with getting equipment at the very least). Richard Preston has managed a remarkable feat here. He introduces the reader to every single person we know by name and tells their stories. He does so like a journalist would, creating a sort of distance to the reader - one that nevertheless evaporates as soon as Ebola makes an entrance. Because there is no way a normal person won't feel the danger and the fear and the pain. The immediacy as well as urgency. Personally, I've never been squeamish or bothered by sickness and/or bodily functions. Maybe it has to do with having had to take care of so many old and sick relatives. I've also always been fascinated by biology and chemistry and thus anatomy and diseases of any kind. Yes, I still dream of the possibility to be present during an autopsy to see all that I've read about for myself. I'd even help if I was allowed to. Which is to say that I have no problem looking at something like the human body from a kind of distance. I see a problem, I try to solve it. Someone being sick is a problem. So I get the doctors we are introduced to here. Moreover, it means that I'm always interested in books like this and it makes no difference to me if I read them during the Corona-crisis or at any other time. *shrugs* The writing style was very neutral, stating the facts, creating the afore-mentioned distance. The author probably (correctly) counted on the events moving his readers enough as is. The book is meticulously researched, showing anything from history and science to religious beliefs that led to socio-political problems, and I "enjoyed" reading it a lot (if that is how one can describe the reading experience). Most importantly, it is a kind of road map showing what we did wrong in the hope that we'll do better in the future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Many thanks to Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review I would like to start this review by warning you guys that this book is depressing as f**k. I felt as though the basic message was: Ebola came to eradicate humanity but it failed but don’t worry! It will be back to kill us all. Crisis in the Red Zone is the story of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. I distinctly remember that time because my anxiety was through the roof. During that time, I was compulsively washing my hand Many thanks to Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review I would like to start this review by warning you guys that this book is depressing as f**k. I felt as though the basic message was: Ebola came to eradicate humanity but it failed but don’t worry! It will be back to kill us all. Crisis in the Red Zone is the story of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. I distinctly remember that time because my anxiety was through the roof. During that time, I was compulsively washing my hands once or twice an hour and avoided anyone with a cough. Basically, Ebola is responsible for my OCD (just kidding. My OCD stems from… everything) I think the creepiest part of this book was the fact that it reads like a science fiction thriller when, in actuality, it is nonfiction. If that’s not terrifying, I don’t know what is. Overall, this book was scary, informative, and extremely well written. Recommended if you can handle gore and love science! Bottom Line 4 Stars Age Rating: [ R ] Content Screening (Spoilers) - Educational Value (5/5) - [Ebola, virusology, microbiology, science, proper sanitation, etc.] ~ Positive Messages (0/5) - [None. Humanity is f**ked] ~ Sex (0/5) - [None] ~ Violence (5/5) - [Gore, body horror] ~ Language (3/5) - [Sh*t, f*ck] ~ Drinking/Drugs (3/5) - [Medicinal drugs] Trigger and Content Warning - Loss of a loved one, Body horror, hypochondria Publication Date: July 23rd, 2019 Publisher: Penguin Random House Genre: Science/Nonfiction Blurb: “Scary, shocking, and informative.” --------------- well that was depressing --------------- you don't want to know how many misquito bites i got while taking this photo | Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Reddit | LinkedIn | Buy

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    Wow, wow, just wow. A good thriller is that much scarier when IT'S FREAKING REAL. Review to come, but first I need to bathe, to scrub my skin raw and try to shake the feeling that everything and everyone I've come in contact with is teeming with the ebola virus. Seriously, I'm terrified. We all should be. ------------------------------------ Okay, review time! Richard Preston can write a true thriller like no one else I've read. He gets into the grit of recent events as they unfold and puts us RIGHT Wow, wow, just wow. A good thriller is that much scarier when IT'S FREAKING REAL. Review to come, but first I need to bathe, to scrub my skin raw and try to shake the feeling that everything and everyone I've come in contact with is teeming with the ebola virus. Seriously, I'm terrified. We all should be. ------------------------------------ Okay, review time! Richard Preston can write a true thriller like no one else I've read. He gets into the grit of recent events as they unfold and puts us RIGHT THERE. This is why I've read practically everything he's ever written, and have yet to be disappointed. We all know the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus is terrifying, and we have heard about recent outbreaks. But we didn't know what was actually happening, and we have been sheltered by the media from the news that there are still outbreaks in Africa that could threaten the globe. Do we know to be prepared to hole up, if an outbreak hit our cities and towns? Do we understand the concept of reverse quarantine and how it has helped prevent the spread across African countries? There is so much to learn, and Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come offers current and vital information to add on top of The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus, The Demon in the Freezer, and the others. I was fascinated to find out that, like climate change deniers, there are Ebola deniers. One of the biggest reasons Ebola was spreading so quickly five years ago is that there were many who didn't believe this is a real disease, spread by a wet virus. They thought it was some kind of conspiracy created by the white men coming in and putting up hospitals, or it was a demon or gods getting them. These Ebola deniers wouldn't take those infected to the hospitals, and were even stealing infected people from hospitals and taking them home. Equally fascinating was the ritual of rinsing (Ebola-covered) family members' bodies after death, then giving honored family members the gift of rinsing with that same water, so they may bathe in the loved one's essence. Yes, literally taking all the active Ebola particles that clung to the deceased's body, rinsing them into a basin and pouring them onto oneself. I am still dumbstruck that these kinds of burial practices haven't destroyed civilizations, given all the plagues and viruses that have attacked humanity over millenia. Or maybe it has? "Behavior changes. This is how all outbreaks end." "Ebola outbreaks end when people decide they're going to end." The changes that took place to slow this current spread of Ebola were intriguing. It sounds so simple -- isolate, wash with bleach, be careful -- but considering the "it's fake news" beliefs of the affected populations, it seems unlikely modern medicine could make an impact, though it's a relief to hear something finally changed. "The Ebola war wasn't won with modern medicine. It was a medieval war, and it went down as a brutal engagement between ordinary people and a life form that was trying to use the human body as a means of survival through deep time. In order to win this war against an inhuman enemy, people had to make themselves inhuman. They had to suppress their deepest feelings and instincts, tear down the bonds of love and feeling, isolate themselves from or isolate those they loved the most. Human beings had to become like monsters, in order to save their human selves." My heart goes out to each and every healthcare worker who, against horrifying odds, stepped up and put their lives on the line to battle this disease. Many lost their lives in the fight, and it's unfortunate they are not mourned more publicly. We have not seen the last of Ebola, for sure, but we can hope for continuing vaccine research and public acknowledgement of the dangers. There will always be a new virus, a new threat, but what we can realistically hope for within our lifetimes is an eradication of the hideous death we expect from Ebola.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    “[The Ebola outbreak] was really just a series of small accidents and unnoticed events, which, moment by moment, grew into a crescendo of horror. This was the shockwave produced by an emerging virus as it came out of the ecosystem. The virus magnified itself in people, swept away lives, met opposition from the human species, and finally died out. What will the next shockwave be like?” This is an informative book that didn’t quite mesh with my own personal interests. It traces the spread of Ebola “[The Ebola outbreak] was really just a series of small accidents and unnoticed events, which, moment by moment, grew into a crescendo of horror. This was the shockwave produced by an emerging virus as it came out of the ecosystem. The virus magnified itself in people, swept away lives, met opposition from the human species, and finally died out. What will the next shockwave be like?” This is an informative book that didn’t quite mesh with my own personal interests. It traces the spread of Ebola through several outbreaks beginning in Zaire in 1976. I found the book somewhat repetitive and there was way more discussion of symptoms of Ebola than I wanted to read. I would have preferred more analysis of the socioeconomic underpinnings of disease spread. I’m also interested in epidemiology, and I don’t recall a single mention of whether anyone is looking into the people who don’t catch this highly contagious and lethal disease, or those who recover. That just wasn’t the focus of this book. I did find the book interesting. My favorite part was near the end when an Ebola doctor was denied treatment with an untested drug, for reasons that seemed like total garbage to me. It would make a good case study in an ethics course. At least they’ve saved a dose of the treatment for our President. 3.5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Richard Preston has written another comprehensible and terrifying account of the Ebola disease that could turn into a global disaster if we aren't careful. Crises in the Red Zone chronicles the outbreak of 2013-14 and the fact that it jumped continents for the first time infecting people in America. This book is horrifying and graphic and the doctors and nurses who cared for these patients without thinking of their own safety and knowing they would most likely die is truly amazing and are the he Richard Preston has written another comprehensible and terrifying account of the Ebola disease that could turn into a global disaster if we aren't careful. Crises in the Red Zone chronicles the outbreak of 2013-14 and the fact that it jumped continents for the first time infecting people in America. This book is horrifying and graphic and the doctors and nurses who cared for these patients without thinking of their own safety and knowing they would most likely die is truly amazing and are the heroes of this book. An important book that should be read. Thank you Random House and Netgalley for a ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paltia

    Everything you want to know about Ebola and more. This is a medical history story that reads like a thriller. There’s lots of players to keep track of, some medical miracles and lucky discoveries by otherwise unemployed entrepreneurs. This book carries a dire warning of the continued need to stay on top of best practice for viral outbreaks. Mistrust of outsiders, belief in local and known healers, and lack of proper equipment, medication and supplies all figure in to this outbreak. There are man Everything you want to know about Ebola and more. This is a medical history story that reads like a thriller. There’s lots of players to keep track of, some medical miracles and lucky discoveries by otherwise unemployed entrepreneurs. This book carries a dire warning of the continued need to stay on top of best practice for viral outbreaks. Mistrust of outsiders, belief in local and known healers, and lack of proper equipment, medication and supplies all figure in to this outbreak. There are many lessons to be learned and I consider the loyalty of the medical staff who responded to be nothing short of miraculous. I noticed when I was at the hospital this week they continue to inquire if you’ve been out of the country in the last six months.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This is thorough but at the same time not as good in continuity, progression, ease to read. Much harder to understand all the tangent parts as in his other disease study- The Hot Zone. Well worth the read time regardless- yet it's all over the place with 100's of name calls and situations that are difficult to connote all together in the way they are placed and in a chronological pattern which is convoluted, IMHO . It still lets you know pertinent information about the present day 6 strains of E This is thorough but at the same time not as good in continuity, progression, ease to read. Much harder to understand all the tangent parts as in his other disease study- The Hot Zone. Well worth the read time regardless- yet it's all over the place with 100's of name calls and situations that are difficult to connote all together in the way they are placed and in a chronological pattern which is convoluted, IMHO . It still lets you know pertinent information about the present day 6 strains of Ebola mutation filovirus- how they originated and what the 1976 and then more recent outbreaks have involved and their outcomes. Also in exact time frames to each place- what events occurred in sequences. And what/ how the next virus or strain to enter humans will/ might be crossing barriers from other species in the future. The contagious degree factor within the cultural practices and societal norms for sick/nursing, and body treatments after death were the most informative for me. I can't imagine the difficulty to change or occlude all of those situational habits. Having at least 10 particular doctor or nurse histories and family- organizational context criteria! This becomes truly personal. And horrific. What bravery too. Dr. Hahn's story and others too. Beyond my imagining. The stations are little more than complete separation from the other populations in tents. In this age of airplane and vast travel- the remedy available in any sense (even that dose of virus eater) seems so minuscule as compared to the reality of the Ebola's nature. Speed AND occurrence rates- there would never be time or supply.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    Exhausting — yet essential reading. This book has a slight edge over The Hot Zone IMO, although they're both exceptional nonfiction reads. Not sure it was particularly wise to read these two back-to-back this month, but they really did put things into perspective. Thankfully we are not currently facing an Ebola outbreak that averages a BLOODY death toll of between 25-90%. So on one hand, I'm relieved that the average death rate of the current pandemic is MUCH lower, and way less gory than that of E Exhausting — yet essential reading. This book has a slight edge over The Hot Zone IMO, although they're both exceptional nonfiction reads. Not sure it was particularly wise to read these two back-to-back this month, but they really did put things into perspective. Thankfully we are not currently facing an Ebola outbreak that averages a BLOODY death toll of between 25-90%. So on one hand, I'm relieved that the average death rate of the current pandemic is MUCH lower, and way less gory than that of Ebola. On the other hand, the discussion on the infectiousness of viruses and how they are the ultimate killer was pretty stressful. I'm ready to take a break from Ebola books, that's for sure, although Preston masterfully covers this topic with amazing panache. *Quotes* “Ebola virus moves from one person to the next by following the deepest and most personal ties of love, care, and duty that join people to one another and most clearly define us as human. The virus exploits the best parts of human nature as a means of travel from one person to the next. In this sense the virus is a true monster.” “It is to say that history turns on unnoticed things. Small, hidden events can have ripple effects, and the ripples can grow. A child touches a bat … a woman riding on a bus bumps against someone who isn’t feeling well … an email gets buried … a patient isn’t found … and suddenly the future arrives.” “One way to understand viruses is to think about them as biological machines. A virus is a wet nanomachine, a tiny, complicated, slightly fuzzy mechanism, which is rubbery, flexible, wobbly, and often a little bit imprecise in its operation—a microscopic nugget of squishy parts. Viruses are subtle, logical, tricky, reactive, devious, opportunistic. They are constantly evolving, their forms steadily changing as time passes. Like all kinds of life, viruses possess a relentless drive to reproduce themselves so that they can persist through time.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex Givant

    With current corona-virus outbreak it's good to get some perspective on other deadly viruses such as Ebola. Did you know that 1.5 millions die annually from TB alone? How about regular flu - around 60 thousands gone last year. When was last time you worried about TB or flu? We are scared of wrong stuff, stuff they show us on TV with "Breaking News" red color frame. Read the book and get information and most important of all things - wash your hands often!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Cripes, substitute 'coronavirus' for every mention of ebola, and there you go, that's what happens, that's how you make mistakes, that's how you do - or DO NOT - contain a deadly pandemic. Okay, I know the two are not remotely the same thing, biologically-speaking, and that one is far worse in terms of deaths, horrible symptoms, difficulty of treatment, and so on, but the methodology for dealing with diseases that spread quickly, easily, and can go from a dozen cases to thousands in just a few we Cripes, substitute 'coronavirus' for every mention of ebola, and there you go, that's what happens, that's how you make mistakes, that's how you do - or DO NOT - contain a deadly pandemic. Okay, I know the two are not remotely the same thing, biologically-speaking, and that one is far worse in terms of deaths, horrible symptoms, difficulty of treatment, and so on, but the methodology for dealing with diseases that spread quickly, easily, and can go from a dozen cases to thousands in just a few weeks, it's all the same. As well as how it is tracked, how it is best contained, what are the best protocols for dealing with patients and potential spread - it's all the same. I have to believe that some of these same disease experts mentioned - virologists, epidemiologists and a host of medical specialists - are working on the coronavirus 'situation' even as I write. The book is a step-by-step, chronological study of what happened in Africa during the Ebola crisis of 2014, and how it was contained, if not wiped out altogether. I especially like how some of indigenous people deal with things like this. In some areas they actually put the affected persons - and all family members - in a hut outside the village. They deliver food and water to the family, but no one contacts them directly. If, after a certain time period, the family is well and okay, they are welcomed back into the village. If they are all dead, they burn the hut down. From a human POV this is horrific, but it works. It's also what we should be doing, putting those affected in a hut - or hospital area - and helping as much as possible, but waiting, too. Oh, darn, several times Mr. Preston mentions how to stop a disease like Ebola we humans have to turn almost into monsters - in order to save all of us. I am reminded of Spock... Doesn't he say at one time, in order to save us all, we must sometimes sacrifice one - or a few? And don't we do that anyhow, sometimes? I'm off on a rant which many might not agree with. Doctors Without Borders certainly wouldn't. For them, if you can't save EVERYONE, then better to save no one. Whoops, am I misquoting? I admire these brave men and woman who go into horrendous areas to help the poor, the sick, the forgotten, the hopeless. But when they agree to withhold an experimental drug from a doctor who is willing to be the test case? Their thinking was, if we don't have enough for all, then no one gets it. Okay, I haven't gone through the whole mind process they have, but this is one area of the book where I went WTF??? However, as usual, Mr. Preston does a fabulous job in describing and explaining Ebola, all the various forms, the methods of treating it and containing it, its genetic basis and history, symptoms etc.; the various new drugs being developed to stop it, and who caught it when and where and how - when such can be determined. He's always a fascinating - and often frightening - read. How timely that it comes out just as the coronavirus gets going... A suggestion from one doctor deep in the heart of all this: Keep a 30-day supply of food on hand. Yikes! Five stars.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Toya

    I read The Hot Zone over a decade ago, and I instantly fell in love with Richard Preston’s writing. As someone who has always loved science, especially virology, Ebola was always the virus that I found to be the most fascinating and also most terrifying. It’s one of the simplest viruses (as contagious as the common cold), it has the capacity to cross-species jump and evolve, and it completely decimates the human immune system in just 7-10 days (something that takes YEARS for HIV to do). That bei I read The Hot Zone over a decade ago, and I instantly fell in love with Richard Preston’s writing. As someone who has always loved science, especially virology, Ebola was always the virus that I found to be the most fascinating and also most terrifying. It’s one of the simplest viruses (as contagious as the common cold), it has the capacity to cross-species jump and evolve, and it completely decimates the human immune system in just 7-10 days (something that takes YEARS for HIV to do). That being said, I have always dreamt of becoming an epidemiologist for the CDC and working in the Hazmat suits on Biosafety Level 4. When I found out that he was doing a follow up to my beloved The Hot Zone, I couldn’t request the book fast enough! Richard Preston does an incredible job of immersing you into the gruesome reality of Ebola outbreaks. He doesn’t spare you the gorey details. When The Hot Zone was first released in 1994, the seriousness of the Ebola virus did not really register for many Americans since it was a virus that was mostly confined to Africa, and there wasn’t widespread media coverage in the 1970s to really highlight the grim reality. The recent outbreak in 2014, brought Ebola into international spotlight, and The Crisis in the Red Zone provides the details that the media outlets did not have access to. Preston is able to humanize Ebola. He is able to take the medical and scientific jargon surrounding viruses as a whole and make them digestible to all audiences. He recounts stories of medical workers who attempted to save patients and their horrifying experiences in the Ebola wards. (If medical procedures and bodily fluids that are described in painstaking detail make you queasy, this will most definitely not be for you.) The story alternates between the original 1976 outbreak to the 2014 outbreak to answer what has been learned about Ebola and its evolution during that time period. Overall, this was another fantastic piece by Richard Preston that gives even more insight into this virus as well as provides hope for a future where we are ultimately able to eradicate this virus once and for all. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing an eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own. 4.5/5 stars, rounded up!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cedricsmom

    Not as good as the Hot Zone, but definitely worth a read. My main complaint is the amount of repetition. Preston thanks the book’s editor by name, so we know the book had one, but what happened? Perhaps the editor had more pressing responsibilities. My other complaint is that it wasn’t necessary for Preston to meander into the area of scare tactics; Ebola is plenty frightening enough without that. Particularly at the end of the book, he starts with the “what if‘s“, a bunch of questions that no o Not as good as the Hot Zone, but definitely worth a read. My main complaint is the amount of repetition. Preston thanks the book’s editor by name, so we know the book had one, but what happened? Perhaps the editor had more pressing responsibilities. My other complaint is that it wasn’t necessary for Preston to meander into the area of scare tactics; Ebola is plenty frightening enough without that. Particularly at the end of the book, he starts with the “what if‘s“, a bunch of questions that no one can answer and we have no way of knowing if we will ever have to face anyway. Had I been the editor, I would’ve left that out. My main question is why were so many of the Ebola deaths women? There were men who contracted the virus and died from it. But in Africa at least, the majority of the sick were female. Why is that?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    NYTimes Book Review here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/bo... NYTimes Book Review NONFICTION Can You Make a Page-Turning Thriller Out of the Ebola Crisis? By Kendra Pierre-Louis Aug. 8, 2019 
 CRISIS IN THE RED ZONE 
The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come
 By Richard Preston Richard Preston has a penchant for the cinematic, even when his subject matter could not be more depressing and dire. His best-selling 1994 book, “The Hot Zone,” about an Ebola outbr NYTimes Book Review here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/bo... NYTimes Book Review NONFICTION Can You Make a Page-Turning Thriller Out of the Ebola Crisis? By Kendra Pierre-Louis Aug. 8, 2019 
 CRISIS IN THE RED ZONE 
The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come
 By Richard Preston Richard Preston has a penchant for the cinematic, even when his subject matter could not be more depressing and dire. His best-selling 1994 book, “The Hot Zone,” about an Ebola outbreak at a medical research facility in Reston, Va., was recently turned into a mini-series despite its reliance on hyperbole (as the science writer David Quammen rightly noted). His new book, “Crisis in the Red Zone,” falls into a similar trap. Covering the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, it also seems written with a singular intent: inspiring the movie version. However one feels generally about the dramatic tone that Preston favors, it feels especially inappropriate in this book. The Reston strain of Ebola that was the focus of “The Hot Zone” was not harmful to humans — only other primates died. In contrast, more than 11,000 people died during the Ebola outbreak that is the focus of “Crisis in the Red Zone,” most of them in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. In Preston’s hands their lives and suffering often feel like little more than added color, heightened by his choice to end many of the book’s chapters with cliffhangers. One section ends with the well-worn image of a researcher looking ominously into a microscope. Much like the clichés that are a regular feature of Hollywood films, the stereotypes that pile up in this book quickly become painful. A Frenchman is portrayed as being especially sad when a medical team is forced to leave behind a load of Camembert to make room for medical equipment. But it’s Preston’s portrayal of the nonwhite characters that feels especially egregious. “The Kissi people of West Africa, who speak their own language and have their own traditions,” he writes — as though it’s unusual for people from any given culture to speak their own language and have their own traditions. He proceeds to launch into exhaustive detail, clearly meant to horrify, about the fact that the Kissi people eat bats. This is salient because it’s considered a possible source for Ebola entering humans. But Preston’s description of the bats as “stinky flying mice” seems designed to make us recoil in disgust over a custom we don’t understand. His descriptions of Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the people who live there, are so problematic in parts that I took to texting a friend snapshots of the most offending passages and asking her if a virus can be neocolonial. Despite their occasional use in germ warfare, viruses are neutral actors — but there’s nothing neutral about the portrayal of diseases and how we respond to them. Preston does try to wrestle with the unequal medical treatment received by Africans who contracted the disease versus treatment received by foreign white aid workers who became infected. He details the excruciating decision-making process that denied Humarr Khan, the chief Sierra Leonean doctor attempting to curb the country’s Ebola outbreak, access to ZMapp, an experimental Ebola drug, when he became infected while treating patients. An American doctor and an American missionary were later given access to the drug, and they survived. Dr. Khan did not. But this examination comes too late, during the book’s final quarter, after Preston has spent chapters mired in caricature and overdramatization. What’s more, the book also falters on a deeper, structural level: Preston raises two key reasons for the likely risk of infectious diseases in the near future, but he doesn’t go on to explore these threats fully enough or in a way that might have added some needed subtlety and context to his larger narrative about the Ebola outbreak. The first is the dominant theory that Ebola emerged, in part, because humans are increasingly encroaching on previously wild areas, allowing diseases to jump to our species. But the forces driving that pattern of encroachment are not discussed. And that pattern, it should be noted, is happening not just in Africa but in large parts of Asia and in the United States, where according to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s leading to an increase in tick-borne diseases. In other words, this isn’t just an African problem, even if the book leaves you with that strong impression. Similarly, Preston notes that at least part of the problem in treating Ebola lies with local mistrust of foreign doctors and the way they present themselves to communities. Doctors Without Borders, he writes, show up in white “space suits” whisking away sick patients who, because they rarely overcome Ebola’s high mortality rate, are never seen again, even in death — the nongovernmental organization disposes of the bodies. According to Preston, it was Doctors Without Borders who denied Khan access to ZMapp. One of the organization’s rationales for its decision was that if Khan died from the treatment, or if he was miraculously healed, either outcome would lead to further rumors among the local population, affecting the NGO’s ability to do its job. Because of their distance and their power over life and death, foreign doctors are sometimes seen as the source of Ebola infection, not as the source of treatment. One community, chronicled in the book, hid sick family members and physically attacked doctors. This narrative, that outsiders brought the disease, has been stoked by some politicians amid the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Ebola doctors and medical centers are being attacked. But Preston doesn’t tie this mistrust into a longer history of colonialist violence or the broader story of the 2014 Ebola outbreak itself. Given the book’s warning that this is a portent of global disease outbreaks to come, it would be good to know what this mistrust might mean for future pandemics. Instead Preston folds these bigger questions into passages that have the effect of simply making Africans seem ignorant of basic science. These distracting gaps are unfortunate, since “Crisis in the Red Zone” also recounts an important story about the risks of emerging diseases and a global medical system ill equipped to handle them. But it’s lost between fevered descriptions designed, seemingly, to provoke the kind of hysteria about Ebola that might work well for the film thriller Preston seems to have in mind.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    I'm not sure what happened here. Maybe they didn't have time for any editing? The story moves ponderously. Maybe that's fine; the details engross us more. But the writing is repetitive—very, very repetitive. It's enough to say a fact once or twice. I don't need to be told 500 times that ZMapp hadn't been tested on humans. Reading pages and pages about a character's inability to make up his mind is also tedious. Finally, I think Preston misses the scope. There is a very narrow central crisis, and I'm not sure what happened here. Maybe they didn't have time for any editing? The story moves ponderously. Maybe that's fine; the details engross us more. But the writing is repetitive—very, very repetitive. It's enough to say a fact once or twice. I don't need to be told 500 times that ZMapp hadn't been tested on humans. Reading pages and pages about a character's inability to make up his mind is also tedious. Finally, I think Preston misses the scope. There is a very narrow central crisis, and a very broad and preachy overview (`we're not prepared for the next epidemic'), but he doesn't actually give a good description of the Ebola outbreak.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Perhaps not as gripping as some of his other books on plagues, this one still carried the relevant gravitas to continue pushing the story forward and make the reader wonder what was going to happen next. As with a lot of modern news there’s a bit of a flash in the pan effect. Big story one day disappears days later because something else comes up. I remember a flare up of Ebola in the United States years back and some people vanishing into quarantine for treatment at the NIH; thereafter the stor Perhaps not as gripping as some of his other books on plagues, this one still carried the relevant gravitas to continue pushing the story forward and make the reader wonder what was going to happen next. As with a lot of modern news there’s a bit of a flash in the pan effect. Big story one day disappears days later because something else comes up. I remember a flare up of Ebola in the United States years back and some people vanishing into quarantine for treatment at the NIH; thereafter the story seemed to fade. So this book explains what happened and how it came to be, with a whole host of those who died along the way as well as emerging treatments for Ebola. Mankind just trying to stay one step ahead. Fascinating read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    Full RTC—why oh why did I listen to this in the middle of a pandemic???

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    At the end of the book, the author poses a question: what would happen if a serious, contagious virus exploded in New York? “[Perhaps] a dry virus with high mortality that infects people through the lungs. We can imagine . . . police officers wearing full PPE gear. People needing ambulances—no ambulances. Hospitals gone medieval. Medical staff absent, dying, overwhelmed. Hospital beds full. Medical examiner facilities gone hot as hell and crammed with corpses. Nobody in their right mind would en At the end of the book, the author poses a question: what would happen if a serious, contagious virus exploded in New York? “[Perhaps] a dry virus with high mortality that infects people through the lungs. We can imagine . . . police officers wearing full PPE gear. People needing ambulances—no ambulances. Hospitals gone medieval. Medical staff absent, dying, overwhelmed. Hospital beds full. Medical examiner facilities gone hot as hell and crammed with corpses. Nobody in their right mind would enter a NYC hospital. Transportation frozen. Food supplies dwindling or absent. Schools closed. People avoiding supermarkets for fear of contagion. Prophets and visioners predicting the future and offering cures. People leaving the city, bringing the virus with them. Airports infective, flights canceled. Parents giving care to their sick children in apartments, at home.” Sound familiar in the Year of the Quarantine? Richard Preston is clairvoyant. In 2017 I read The Hot Zone, which was published in 1995. It covered the Ebola virus outbreaks up until that date--in an incredibly vivid, novelistic way. I blew through that shit SO fast, and my review wishes for an updated version. This book is the answer to that: published in 2019, it’s very up to date on the recent, most severe Ebola outbreak in 2014. -------WHAT IS EBOLA?------- There are five different strains: Sudan Ebola, Zaire Ebola, Reston Ebola, Bundibugyo Ebola, Tai Forest Ebola, and Bombali Ebola. Bombali and Reston have not yet infected humans; Reston cannot infect humans, only non-human primates; Bombali, although it CAN infect humans, has never done so and has only been found in bats in Kenya, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Tai Forest and Bundibugyo are very rare. Sudan ebola and Zaire ebola are responsible for most outbreaks. Sudan ebola was the first (although we didn’t know about it until after the fact), in 1976. Also in 1976 was the first outbreak of Zaire ebola, which was the first outbreak in which ebola was identified as a new virus. The 2014-2016 outbreak was also Zaire, although a new strain of Zaire called the Makona variant (I know, it sounds like a virus from a sci fi book) that was especially “hot” (infective and severe). -------WHAT ARE VIRUSES?------- Bacteria are kind of boring. They’re just an organism. They’re alive. They're made of cells. They eat and make waste. They reproduce (asexually of course). But viruses. Viruses are different and more elegant. They aren’t “alive” in the way bacteria or we are. They don’t consist of cells, just scraps of RNA wrapped in an oily case that infiltrates the host’s cells (i.e. our cells) and hijacks its production center, forcing it to produce copies of the virus. One virus particle becomes millions or billions of virus particles, but not through asexual reproduction like bacteria. We, our host bodies, make the virus—the initial virus particle just holds a gun to our cell’s head to force us to reproduce for them. Bizarrely, that means that viruses are actually made out of *human* materials. -------THE WRITING------- Slightly less melodramatic, but still as personable as the original Hot Zone. You really get to know the doctors, nurses, and scientists at Kenema Hospital, and, like a novel, you have no idea who will live and who will die (spoiler alert, it’s a fucking Game of Thrones-level bloodbath—that “will they, won’t they” with Dr. Ruppol destroyed my nerves). Richard Preston just generally has a very evocative way of writing. “The jet carried them westward over lightless tracts of rain forest diessected by pythonic rivers.” Pythonic rivers. I love it. -------THE FATA KEKULA METHOD------- I wanted to highlight one really cool story, about one individual person. In Liberia, during the Ebola epidemic, there was a young nursing student named Fatu Kekula. Her parents, sister, and cousin were all infected, and there was no room at the hospital. So Fatu created her own bio-hazmat suit out of garbage bags, tying them over her limbs with rubberbands, wearing a raincoat, a surgical mask, and multiple rubber gloves. She covered her head with panty hose and another garbage bag. She administered IV fluids and cared for them—-everyone survived except the cousin, and Fatu never got infected. The raincoat + garbage bags becamwe known as the Trash Bag Method, and it helped reduce new Ebola infections for people caring for infected family members. --------VERDICT------- It’s great. If you can get your hands on it (I imagine it’s in high demand--I checked this out before coronavirus hit), grab it. Preston beautifully focuses on both the science, and the humans involved in the 2014 Ebola struggle--the individual people, the medical and scientific geniuses, who put their lives at risk and often die— the doctors, nurses, virologists, and lab techs who would rather risk dying (painfully, in a blood, vomit, and feces-filled, 100 degree plastic tent, filled with dead or nearly-dead bodies) than give up the fight. Like Humarr Khan, Lisa Hensley, Alex Moigboi, Michael Gbakie, and Lina Moses. Also, I had never heard of Bas-Congo disease before (it’s kind of mixture of rabies plus uncontrolled bleeding, and unlike regular rabies, it’s highly contagious among humans) so now I can have nightmares about that. Thanks, Richard. ~~~BOOK RIOT'S READ HARDER CHALLENGE~~~ #5: Read a book about a natural disaster

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come Author: Richard Preston Pages: 400 Genre: Science Pub date: July 23,2019 The 2103-2014 was the deadliest ever--but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses--from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries. This time, Eb Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come Author: Richard Preston Pages: 400 Genre: Science Pub date: July 23,2019 The 2103-2014 was the deadliest ever--but the outbreaks continue. Now comes a gripping account of the doctors and scientists fighting to protect us, an urgent wake-up call about the future of emerging viruses--from the #1 bestselling author of The Hot Zone, soon to be a National Geographic original miniseries. This time, Ebola started with a two-year-old child who likely had contact with a wild creature and whose entire family quickly fell ill and died. The ensuing global drama activated health professionals in North America, Europe, and Africa in a desperate race against time to contain the viral wildfire. By the end--as the virus mutated into its deadliest form, and spread farther and faster than ever before--30,000 people would be infected, and the dead would be spread across eight countries on three continents. In this taut and suspenseful medical drama, Richard Preston deeply chronicles the outbreak, in which we saw for the first time the specter of Ebola jumping continents, crossing the Atlantic, and infecting people in America. Rich in characters and conflict--physical, emotional, and ethical--Crisis in the Red Zoneis an immersion in one of the great public health calamities of our time. Preston writes of doctors and nurses in the field putting their own lives on the line, of government bureaucrats and NGO administrators moving, often fitfully, to try to contain the outbreak, and of pharmaceutical companies racing to develop drugs to combat the virus. He also explores the charged ethical dilemma over who should and did receive the rare doses of an experimental treatment when they became available at the peak of the disaster. Crisis in the Red Zone makes clear that the outbreak of 2013-2014 is a harbinger of further, more severe outbreaks, and of emerging viruses heretofore unimagined--in any country, on any continent. In our ever more interconnected world, with roads and towns cut deep into the jungles of equatorial Africa, viruses both familiar and undiscovered are being unleashed into more densely populated areas than ever before. The more we discover about the virosphere, the more we realize its deadly potential. Crisis in the Red Zone is an exquisitely timely book, a stark warning of viral outbreaks to come. My thoughts Rating: 5 Would I recommended it? yes Will I read anything else by this author? yes This is the first time I've ever read anything about the Ebola virus and I'm glad that I decide to pick this up, First off the author brings to live and gives an in dept look of the Ebola virus and how it affects the body and how its passed from one person to the next , he goes also in dept of how the doctors and nurses puts their very live at risk to help fight this virus and the steps they and they government as well as the NGO take as well, he brings to life not only the virus but the people who fight and died from it , as well as how the families of the deceased and how the villagers treated their lost ones and goes into explaining how the virus was past though out the families as well as the villagers. He also tells you about the six different types of Ebola .Yes you read right there are six different types .And those 6 known species of Ebola is : Zaire Ebola, Sudan Ebola, Reston Ebola, Tai Forest Ebola, Bundibugyo Ebola and Bombali Ebola, their know as the six Ebola sisters,and that Out of the 6 ,the most lethal is the Zaire or is the homicidal elder sister. not only is it the most deadly of the five Ebolas but it is also the most deadly of all known filoviruses, that includes the Ebolas. It's the Lord of the strains. After reading this book I can understand a little bit better why we need to study these types of virus and how to fight them , but it also scare to think what would happening if they ever got lose of here , or someone using them as a weapon but over all its still a good book to read with that said I want to thank Netgalley for letting me read and review it .

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bridgette

    Fabulous! Crisis in the Red Zone riveted me from the start. It details the Ebola epidemic from a few years ago, focusing on a hospital in Sierra Leone and another one in Liberia. I learned a TON. I would probably recommend waiting to read this until the COVID 19 stuff calms down. If that ever happens. Richard Preston does not spare you the details. He is concise, unflinching, even blunt. Due to that, I recommend holding off on reading this if you are even a bit anxious about COVID19. Near the end Fabulous! Crisis in the Red Zone riveted me from the start. It details the Ebola epidemic from a few years ago, focusing on a hospital in Sierra Leone and another one in Liberia. I learned a TON. I would probably recommend waiting to read this until the COVID 19 stuff calms down. If that ever happens. Richard Preston does not spare you the details. He is concise, unflinching, even blunt. Due to that, I recommend holding off on reading this if you are even a bit anxious about COVID19. Near the end of the book, the author details his vision of what NYC would look like if an airborn BSL4 virus emerged. His words were prophetic. New York currently looks very much like his vision.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jak Krumholtz

    Preston excels at writing non-fiction thrillers. I was really bummed out about distracted US officials checking World Cup scores during meetings and ignoring early warnings about the Ebola outbreak. “In the end Garry couldn’t get anybody in the U.S. Government to arrange actual immediate help for Kenema, or, he thought, to consider the possibility that a crises in a small hospital in Africa might actually be a crises for every person in North America. They finally took it seriously when Ebola got Preston excels at writing non-fiction thrillers. I was really bummed out about distracted US officials checking World Cup scores during meetings and ignoring early warnings about the Ebola outbreak. “In the end Garry couldn’t get anybody in the U.S. Government to arrange actual immediate help for Kenema, or, he thought, to consider the possibility that a crises in a small hospital in Africa might actually be a crises for every person in North America. They finally took it seriously when Ebola got to a Dallas hospital.” I’m embarrassed to say how much I get paid to take pictures of pens while nurses risking their lives all-day in overflowing ebola wards are getting $5 a day. I finished this book with a donation to Doctors Without Borders.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tapasya

    With the ongoing Corona Virus outbreak, I have got into reading these books about viruses and deadly diseases. This book was very informative. I liked the way how the book traces back to the origin of the Ebola virus and how it spread. The whole storylike description from the beginning of the virus was just amazing. Virus, be it of any type, are dangerous. “Ebola virus moves from one person to the next by following the deepest and most personal ties of love, care, and duty that join people to one With the ongoing Corona Virus outbreak, I have got into reading these books about viruses and deadly diseases. This book was very informative. I liked the way how the book traces back to the origin of the Ebola virus and how it spread. The whole storylike description from the beginning of the virus was just amazing. Virus, be it of any type, are dangerous. “Ebola virus moves from one person to the next by following the deepest and most personal ties of love, care, and duty that join people to one another and most clearly define us as human. The virus exploits the best parts of human nature as a means of travel from one person to the next. In this sense the virus is a true monster.” I agree, 100%.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This was riveting. I did have to take some breaks as the subject matter is very grim and sad. But I found this fascinating. The jumps around the time line between the two different outbreaks was a little confusing, but the date heads each change in the timeline.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Having just recently read Richard Preston's hit book The Hot Zone, I was excited to see that he was releasing a follow up dealing with the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2013-2014. I loved The Hot Zone and had even watched the National Geographic miniseries based upon the book. However, I must say I was deeply disappointed in Preston's newest Ebola story. Crisis in the Red Zone tells the story of the recent spread of Ebola through Africa, particularly in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Starting with Having just recently read Richard Preston's hit book The Hot Zone, I was excited to see that he was releasing a follow up dealing with the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2013-2014. I loved The Hot Zone and had even watched the National Geographic miniseries based upon the book. However, I must say I was deeply disappointed in Preston's newest Ebola story. Crisis in the Red Zone tells the story of the recent spread of Ebola through Africa, particularly in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Starting with the death of a small child, the Ebola virus quickly devastates many small villages and kills hundreds of people. As health officials worldwide become aware of the situation, doctors and scientists are sent in to try and contain the disease before it becomes a global pandemic. Scientists also try to discover the origin of the virus and realize that once it enters humans, the virus spread and mutates at an extraordinary level. Preston delves into the lives of those on the ground in the hot zones, from the doctors and nurses watching as patients suffer horrible deaths, to scientists in labs in the US, searching for answers. Some of these people do not survive the outbreak, and all are changed forever by the horrors they witness in the red zone. One thing I liked about Preston's book The Hot Zone was his ability to make us care about the people in the two main storylines of that book (the doctors in Zaire and the Jaxxs in Maryland). Again, in this book, Preston gets us to care about the people involved in this crisis; however, there are TOO many people to have to keep up with and care about in this book. He follows many characters, flipping back and forth between their stories from one paragraph to the next, and it makes it very difficult to remember who is who and to keep up with a streamlined narrative for each character. I feel this book would have been much clearer had it followed only a few characters that we can easily track through the entire book rather than quickly bouncing from one character to the next to the next. Preston also goes into significant detail about almost every topic in this book. While I appreciate the detailing of the virus and how it is composed, how it works and how it spreads, not everything that is discussed needs an extended explanation. I feel he gets bogged down in the details, repeating himself numerous times about unimportant facts, and forgets to get back to the main idea; I found myself becoming very bored as I read this book. For a story that is so horrifying and real, the way in which it is presented is meandering, slow-paced, and exhausting. This book is a scary read, like Preston's other works, and the fact that this story is a true story makes it all the more terrifying. I appreciate Preston bringing this story to light; I just wish it had been done in a more cohesive and thrilling manner. My thanks to Random House and Netgalley for providing this ARC of Crisis in the Red Zone by Richard Preston. Rating: ⭐⭐

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shara Vitone

    WARNING: reading this will turn even the most optimistic person into a doomsday prepper. This book reads like a horrifying Hollywood thriller but the disturbing twist is.... IT IS NON FICTION!!! Until now I have enjoyed reading apocalyptic world-ending tragedies but I have had my fill of world-ending scenerios, especially after learning just how close our society is on the brink of a real life pandemic outbreak. I have nightmares of Preston's vivid description of a full blown hemorrhagic fever an WARNING: reading this will turn even the most optimistic person into a doomsday prepper. This book reads like a horrifying Hollywood thriller but the disturbing twist is.... IT IS NON FICTION!!! Until now I have enjoyed reading apocalyptic world-ending tragedies but I have had my fill of world-ending scenerios, especially after learning just how close our society is on the brink of a real life pandemic outbreak. I have nightmares of Preston's vivid description of a full blown hemorrhagic fever and how quick and rampant the tenacious mutating virus can spread. It is worse than any horror story that I've ever read! This is the true and VERY recent story of the worst Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in all of history and how it infected over 30,000 people. It is hard to believe this event only occurred just a few years ago (2013-2014) and is still an ongoing epidemic. I recall hearing bits and pieces of the event on the news but for the most part I believe the majority of the public was sheltered from the severe devastation of this horrific virus. The story of the courageous health workers who gave their time and their lives to prevent the spread of Ebola absolutely captivated me. I was saddened and angered by the death of Dr. Humar Kahn and disgusted by the bureaucratic red tape that prevented him from receiving a possible cure from the untested z-map drug. I wish I had never read this book but I'm glad I did. It is a dire warning of the awful epidemics that more than likely will plague our future and what we can do to stave off the possibility of real-life global annihilation. I am going to go wash my hands now.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I’m exhausted from grimacing as I read this book, but it’s a very important account. Preston has brought to life the dedicated doctors and nurses who were on the front lines of the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever. His book highlights both how much committed people can do in the face of the horrors of a deadly disease and how wholly unprepared our society is for the next outbreak.

  30. 4 out of 5

    S.L. Berry

    What would you do if a loved one came down with Ebola? Do you remember when if you went to a doctor's office they asked if you had traveled outside the U.S. within a certain time period and where? That is what Richard Preston's forthcoming book, Crisis in the Red Zone is about. It is the account of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and other countries in West Africa that started with one boy and then traveling through the Makong Triangle and spreading outwards until it rea What would you do if a loved one came down with Ebola? Do you remember when if you went to a doctor's office they asked if you had traveled outside the U.S. within a certain time period and where? That is what Richard Preston's forthcoming book, Crisis in the Red Zone is about. It is the account of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and other countries in West Africa that started with one boy and then traveling through the Makong Triangle and spreading outwards until it reached Dallas, Texas and New York. Ebola killed thousands as it spread like wildfire until finally villagers began taking the fight to Ebola through implementing the Ancient Rule -- understanding that Ebola is not a white man's myth but a deadly wet virus that is spread through contact with bodily fluids, recognizing the symptoms of Ebola, isolating of and removal from contact with those infected with Ebola, and destruction through fire or protected burial of the deceased and everything that the deceased may have come in contact with. It is the story of giving (or protecting) life through temporarily changing practices, habits, and deeply ingrained customs and a way of life so that those who are not already infected with Ebola do not break with it and succumb. Crisis in the Red Zone is also the story of the intersection of modern medicine and ways with ancient tribal medicine, folk healing, and culture and the clash between the two as seen in the struggle of Doctors of Without Borders in their "moon suits" to locate and then isolate and treat those infected with Ebola. To be clear, there were other similar conflicts elsewhere that rose to the level of near war between villagers and those who fought Ebola. Preston's account also delves into the conflict that developed between the World Health Organization, Doctors with Borders, and governmental agencies, in Africa and outward including the U.S. and how this clash led to the death of the doctor of the of the Kenema Government Hospital's Ebola ward, Humarr Khan. It is the story of how adherence to inflexible practices and procedures can kill through ignorance of and the overriding local traditions that in turn creates conflict with local populations who have had limited contact with outsiders. This conflict and misunderstanding then creates myths and superstition in the minds of the villagers that eventually leads into war between the villagers and outsiders. Crisis in the Red Zone also relates the superhuman efforts of Doctors Without Borders, World Health Organization doctors, outside experts and local medical personnel to struggle beyond the point of collapse and utter chaos to combat Ebola in situations that were war-like inside the treating areas. Preston also details the evolution of Ebola vaccines and treatments, the Level 4 containment and care that is required to stop an outbreak through in essence creating a fire break in the path of the disease and the history of Ebola including the 1976 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the lessons learned there which became known as the Ancient Rule and was ultimately implemented by the villagers and medical personnel in the 2014 outbreak. This reader learned a lot through Preston's cogent and in-depth writing and analysis that was easy to understand. At times, in the early part through mid-way, the writing had the annoying quality of like talking to a child. It was not enough to distract this reader. Also, at some point, Preston begins to write part of the time in the first person as he starts to relate to readers his investigation and research for the book. The first time a section appears this reader thought it was an error. It is not as later in the narrative, it becomes clear what the author is doing. Other than that, Preston's account is a fascinating, if chilling, account of how linked this world and how societies and worlds can be destroyed by a microscopic invader. Copy provided by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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